Harmony of the Seas Update: Was Human Error to Blame? Our Cruise Ship Attorney Discusses the Issue

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

Rotterdam, Netherlands - May 24, 2016: "Harmony of the Seas" the world's largest cruise ship leaving Rotterdam city to Southampton(UK) on 24 of May 2016, Netherlands.

On Wednesday, we reported on the tragedy aboard the Harmony of the Seas. The world’s largest cruise ship was the site of a mishap involving a lifeboat drill that resulted in one crewmember fatality and four crewmember injuries.

The fatality was of one 42-year-old electrical engineer from the Philippines, whose death was brought about during a regularly planned safety drill. During the drill, a lifeboat became detached from the ship and plummeted into the sea below.

Of the injured, two have been released from the hospital, while two more remain, receiving continuing treatment.

At the time of the accident, which was eerily similar to one that took place in July of this year, there were many questions regarding what could have gone wrong this time. Now, after a few days of investigation, it seems that human error may have been to blame.

Those charged with investigating this incident say that, currently, it appears that the ship’s equipment was not faulty. Thus, they are now looking into the next possibility: did a crewmember’s lack of proper training or unfamiliarity with proper procedures for the deployment of the lifeboat bring about this terrible event?

While it is true that humans are prone to imperfect behavior, this fact is greatly exacerbated when they are over worked or under trained.

Are Crewmembers Given Enough Training?

In the wake of this incident we cannot help but to wonder how much training the crewmembers involved in this maneuver receive before they are entrusted with the lives of those who they would be trying to safe in a real emergency, which required the deployment of these lifeboats for the benefit of Cruising passengers having to abandon ship.

Is part of the problem the fact that, as Cruise Lines have grown in size they have also successfully limited there exposure to lawsuits and so workplace safety has taken a back seat?

None of the Cruise Lines with the biggest fleets currently sailing out of U.S. Ports, those that make up Carnival Corporation & Carnival PLC, Royal Caribbean Cruises, LTD., Norwegian Cruise Lines, MCS Cruises, Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises or any of their subsidiaries sailing out of foreign ports, have U.S. trained crewmembers or are subject to U.S. labor laws nor can they be sued in U.S. Courts by their crewmembers if they become sick or are injured doing their jobs.  We in the trenches can’t help but suspect that the increase in maritime accidents is tied into the lack of accountability the Cruise Lines now enjoy when it comes to crew injuries.

We are left to wonder how long before we have another Concordia type casualty or worse before crew and passenger safety is again looked at seriously due to the fact that the consequences of not doing so will no longer be financially manageable ?

History has shown us that Corporations will, if given the chance always put profit ahead of safety, the Ford Pinto’s exploding gas tanks, the Cigarette Companies lies to its consumers about the dangers of smoking, the list is endless.

Our hearts go out to the families of those impacted by this event, as they grapple with the pain of losing a loved one and hope this tragedy is not repeated a third time.

We Have Seen It All

Unfortunately, accidents, injuries and deaths on the high seas happen far more often than any of us would like. We are a team of attorneys who are experienced in helping individuals and families navigate the challenging legal process that follow in the wake of an accident of this kind occurs.

Our breadth of experience with many major cruise lines and our unique focus on a wide variety of maritime legal issues situates us in the perfect position to assist you with your maritime legal matters. So, if you believe that a maritime lawyer could make your life a little bit easier, do not hesitate to contact us today.